Year of the Rooster starting

Celebration in Prague will be at Obecní dům

The traditional Chinese calendar runs on a 12-year lunar cycle. The Spring Festival, also called Chinese New Year, will be celebrated in Prague on Jan. 27 at Obecní dům (the Municipal House) from 10 am to 10 pm. The Spring Festival is one of the biggest events for people in China and for the expat community worldwide.

The year of the monkey ends Jan. 27 and the year of the rooster begins the next day. This time, it will be the fire rooster, as each year also has an element associated with it. The year will be a long one, running to Feb, 15, 2018. The earth dog will then take over.

The Spring Festival comes early this year, and as a result will be held indoors. The event at Obecní dům will feature music and dance performances showing traditions and customs connected with the arrival of spring in China.

The main program will be performed in the venue's opulent Smetana Hall at 1:30, 4:30 and 7:30 pm. Performers are from the Zhejiang province on China's east coast. Tickets to the main program are Kč 99, and includes a food tasting of delicacies prepared according to the original recipes. The main program will have 14 different dances and performances.

Entry to the side program is free, and visitors can look forward to Chinese calligraphy, palace embroidery, crafts demonstrated by Beijing masters, face painting, martial arts and a tea ceremony.

There will be lessons in Chinese language and martial arts, and a demonstration of masks and costumes from Chinese opera in the Sladkovský Hall. Overall, events take place in nine rooms in Obecní dům.

The rooster is the 10th sign in the Chinese zodiac cycle. According to tradition, people born in the year of the fire rooster are trustworthy, with a strong sense of timekeeping and responsibility at work.

Everyone by tradition should clean house before the end of the year, so as not to enter the new year with too many burdens.

As with New Year's celebrations on the Western calendar, people celebrating the Chinese New Year stay up until midnight on the last day of the year with their families. People extend good wishes and congratulations after midnight. Exchanging monetary gifts in red envelopes is also common.

A lot of symbolism is placed on wearing red to symbolize wealth and drive away bad spirits, though some say red is unlucky for people born in the year of the rooster.

For more information, visit www.czechchina.com or www.facebook.com/HAPPYCHINESENEWYEARPRAGUE

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